As we are in the midst of election season in America it is critical that we think well about the issues at hand. Unfortunately, when it comes to “Christians” involvement in the political process many show their true colors in looking out “for their own interest and not the interest of others” (or Jesus interest for that matter). Immigration in America is one of those glaring issues we can’t afford to over look.
There has been an sad cry from a portion of the American people to “build a wall” in order to keep others out. The media frequently uses terms such as “alien” and “illegal”, tying those terms to the drug trade, disease, and terrorism. America has bought into the fear and fallen back to a deeply rooted sin of its own history -”the melting pot” (Problem is certain people melt more than others in the American formula).
Though I would like to throw stats on the table showing how inaccurate these claims are or how hard it is to actually become a citizen for many, I will resist the urge at this point. I do want to make it clear however, that it is our responsibility to not buy into the media hype and to see the issue clearly responding as Jesus would.
Where has this problem of “immigration” come from? What is the root of the heated divide?
Unfortunately, the root of the issue can be traced to the Fear of the Other in a racialized society. Americans have idolized a false safety and bought the lie of the “white identity”. This “white identity” has deceived a majority of America with privileged and fear of losing it. The threat has been built up to be from those who are of the “non-white identity” showing history isn’t so far behind us.
This fear of the other, false identity of “whiteness”, and the creation of an idol are in fact opposites of the Chrisitian call.
The Chrisitan is called to love others, especially the marginalized and foreigner. To love the other sacrificially above yourself -welcoming the stranger in your midst. We as Chrisitians should in fact be hosting the immigrant in our homes -illegal or not. Unfortunately, we have built an instinct to question before relating, to hate before love, to fear with no real knowledge.
“He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. Love the foreigner, therefore, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt” -Deuteronomy 10:18–19
The Christian is called to find their identity in King Jesus and his Kingdom, not a false identity made up by the world. “Whiteness” or even “What it means to be American”, are made up category built to give others power and hold others down. Yet this social construction has shaped all of society — for the worse. We must fight to find our identity and alliegence to a different nation and that’s the Kingdom of God, lest we be judge with the nations.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” — 1 Peter 2:9
The Chrisitian is to walk away from idols including the idol of safety, comfort, and privledge. Idols draw us away from reality, blurring our vision of what God has called us too and how the world is supposed to be. We can’t be blind to the idols distorted our views of reality! The “white-American” identity has allowed fear to see the other as dangerous. The “King Jesus identity” allows one to let go of his own life and allows the other in with no fear.
“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love” -Jonah 2:8
The question must be asked are these fears legitimate? I do not pretend to say the issue is simply, black and white, but I do want to examine our heart in the discussion. Though there is a whole lot that can be said this is where we must start. Is our fight driven by false fears and identities? Or is it driven by a Kingdom ideal that cannot be shaken or threatened? You decide.
“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” -Leviticus 19:33–34